Although the healthcare industry has often lagged behind other sectors in its use of IT, the majority of hospitals are now leveraging technology to meet the requirements of federal initiatives such as meaningful use and accountable care, according to a recent survey from IDC Health Insights.
The new IDC InfoBrief, commissioned by Tokyo-based imaging and print company Ricoh Americas Corporation, gained insight from approximately 100 health IT executives and 500 hospital employees. With nearly 83 percent of hospitals reporting opportunities to integrate workflows across departments, the healthcare industry is poised to see significant gains from information mobility related to meaningful use and accountable care, the report found.
Healthcare organizations are seeking to improve care coordination and clinical processes across departments to achieve long-term goals, according to the survey. In fact, 85 percent of hospitals noted their internal departments could optimize their document workflows. Importantly, they also reported document image data is as critical as paper documents to their business needs, as doctors and nurses need access to electronic versions of documents for proper patient treatment.
Hospitals have identified key challenges, including workflow inefficiencies, departmental silos and lack of access to mobile and cloud applications that could impede their information mobility goals. The survey found that while 69 percent of hospital employees are satisfied with their ability to print, scan and access applications from a mobile device, improvements to the way healthcare practitioners capture, transform and manage patient data can be made, particularly related to helping them attain meaningful use goals for electronic health record (EHR) use. Recognizing the benefits of mobile document capture, hospitals are in the early stages of mobile technology deployments that will expand immediate access to critical patient data for employees and patients.
What’s more, hospitals are reporting the strongest improvements from information mobility technology in work quality (28 percent), information flow within departments (27 percent) and time employees dedicate to their patients (27 percent), contributing to enhanced patient care and satisfaction. As organizations continue to see efficiencies and process enhancements in these areas, they will supplement ongoing gains in meaningful use and accountable care. Ultimately these benefits to patient care can translate to business benefits for hospitals, as patient perspectives of care influence hospital reimbursement rates, the report concluded.
“The healthcare industry has historically invested less in technology than other industries, but government regulations incentivizing technology upgrades have spurred the next wave in information mobility for healthcare,” Lynne Dunbrak, research vice president, connected health it strategies, IDC Health Insights, said in a statement. “The need to access the right data at a moment’s notice is even more critical in the healthcare industry when patient care is at stake. As hospitals realize the benefits to population health, meaningful use gains and accountable care, they are steadily making investments to improve their workflows and IT infrastructure for greater access to information.”